I’d read several reviews of this book and was intrigued by the title and the premise, so sat down to read it eagerly. And it didn’t disappoint, I’m glad to say!
It’s a great idea to weave a story around a collection of bizarre images, which according to the postscript are genuine vintage photographs. It’s not simply that they are a little creepy and strange, but they add a tenderness that really involves you in the fantastical world they depict; the sad little boy in the rabbit costume, and the photograph revealing the reason why Abe never returned home, really ground you in the emotional heart of the tale. Jacob has never really believed that his grandfather’s photographs were real, but when his grandfather is murdered by a monster, the tales he told Jacob as a child suddenly take on a chilling reality. Determined to uncover what killed his grandfather and why, Jacob travels to Wales, where he encounters the living, breathing peculiar children from the photographs and realises that his destiny is inextricably linked with their survival.
This is a convincing and charming fantasy with the possibility of a sequel (yay!) – it’s a book to lose yourself in and just savour. I loved it. Rating: ****
Quirk Books, 2011, ISBN 9781594746062